Conservation International granted record-breaking $90 million in GEF funding, named lead partner for multiple integrated programs

June 26, 2023

Brasília, Brazil (June 26, 2023) – Today, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council approved its eighth programming budget (GEF-8), granting Conservation International USD $90 million that will fund forest and ocean conservation projects across the globe. The funding is part of a total $1.4 billion budget – the largest in its history – that the GEF distributed across its 18 partner agencies

For the first time, Conservation International will serve as the lead agency for two of the GEF’s integrated programs – large conservation efforts undertaken by a consortium of GEF-funded agencies. It will also manage a partnership with countries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (ETP) and support local projects across multiple countries. 

“As we mark Conservation International’s 10th anniversary as a GEF agency this year, we’re thrilled our partnership continues to grow as we take on the role of lead agency for the first time on two integrated programs,” said Orissa Samaroo, vice president, GEF policy and portfolio management at Conservation International. “These programs will allow CI to implement innovative strategies that will help curb climate change, prevent biodiversity loss, and support local livelihoods. By working closely with local communities, stakeholders, and partners, the integrated programs will allow us to achieve measurable results and make a tangible impact on critical ecosystems worldwide.”

Conservation International received:

  • $19.5 million for its Center for Natural Climate solutions which will oversee the operations and outcomes of the GEF’s Ecosystem Restoration Integrated Program.
    • The program aims to restore 4.3 million hectares of crucial ecosystems such as forests, mangroves, wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands across 20 countries: Angola, Brazil, Cambodia, Chad, Congo DR, Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Peru, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
    • In addition to being the lead agency, Conservation International is also the GEF partner agency for two of the Ecosystem Restoration Integrated Program projects in Brazil and Mexico. A total of $16 million for Mexico and $14.9 million for Brazil were approved by the GEF. The projects will address restoration policy implementation, unsustainable land use transition, and conserving endangered biodiversity in Brazil and Mexico.
    • In its lead agency role, Conservation International will help ensure collaboration across individual country-level programs led by fellow GEF agencies that received an additional $155.3 million in funding.
  • $6.8 million to lead the GEF’s Guinean Forests Integrated Program. Working with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Conservation International’s Africa Field Division will aim to restore over 24 thousand hectares of healthy forest landscape in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea by supporting local governance, land use planning and sustainable agriculture.
    • In addition to serving as the lead agency, Conservation International is also the GEF partner agency for two of the Guinean Forests Integrated Program projects in Sierra Leone and Liberia. A total of $6 million for Sierra Leone and $3.4 million for Liberia were approved by the GEF. The projects aim to strategically align with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, focusing on conservation, sustainable use, spatial planning, land management, and promoting biodiversity gains and socio-economic development. 
  • $16 million to manage a GEF-8 program in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape, supporting transboundary cooperation within the national waters of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama and their key oceanic Marine Protected Areas. Read more about this work here.

In addition to the above, Conservation International will implement two projects managed by fellow GEF agencies and received:

  • $5.2 million for work that will be part of the Amazon Sustainable Landscapes IP, led by the World Bank. The project covers 1,640,350 hectares in Ecuador’s Tropical Andes, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. In its role, Conservation International will support governance, sustainable livelihoods and on-the-ground conservation efforts.
  • $4.5 million for work that will be part of the Congo Critical Forest Biome IP, led by the UN Environment Programme. The project aims to prevent biodiversity loss, illegal hunting and wildlife trade and unsustainable land use in order to preserve carbon-rich forests in the Maiombe of Angola. 

Find the full GEF-8 work program here.


ABOUT CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL: Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together. Go to for more, and follow our work on Conservation NewsFacebookTwitterTikTokInstagram and YouTube.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a family of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health. Its grants, blended financing, and policy support helps developing countries address their biggest environmental priorities and adhere to international environmental conventions. Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than $22 billion and mobilized $120 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects.